The following is a statement from John MacArthur’s book “Hard to Believe”:
“Ministers and teachers who water down the gospel of Christ in order to make it more popular and appealing may be leading their fun-loving audiences down the road to eternal punishment. Too many people just want a Madison Avenue Jesus to make them well, make them happy, and make them prosperous. But Jesus isn’t a personal genie. He is the Savior. He died in agony to satisy the wrath of a holy God and to forgive the sins of humankind. Faith in Him demands a willingness to make any sacrifice He asks. The hard truth about Christianity is that the cost is high, but the rewards are priceless: abundant and eternal life that comes only from faithfully following Christ.”
What challenging, yet refreshing words, in a world that is so focused on ones self and status. In reading these words I am reminded of the first of the Beatitudes taught by Jesus in Matt 5 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. We don’t enter through the gates of heaven by any works on our behalf, by any sense or work of righteousness in the eyes of this world. We enter into the gates of heaven by first being broken in spirit and completely humbled before a holy God because of our utter sinful depravity!
That in itself is hard to swallow; our pride being attacked head on. But how can one acknowledge their NEED for a saviour without the conviction of their sinful depravity and therefore unworthiness of coming into God’s presence? Many think they will walk into heaven based on living out a good life with respect to what his world sees as righteous. But God expects perfection and only Christ has achieved that. Everyone else falls infinitely short. Upon realising this, a despairing and contrite soul naturally calls out to God in desperation for forgiveness, and through faith in Christ alone we ARE forgiven and SAVED from eternal condemnation to be with God in heaven FOREVER! What an amazing truth that is. It’s a free gift we all can accept with glad hearts and a deep sense of hope. Death has no hold on us. We need not fear it any more!
I never cease to be blown away by the grace of God!